The power failure that caused a 34- minute delay in the Super Bowl was “an unfortunate moment,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.
“In the coming days, I expect a full action report from all parties involved,” the mayor said after the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 last night at the Superdome.
About half of the lights at the facility, which held 71,024 fans for the National Football League title game, went dark early in the third quarter of what is historically the most-watched television programming in the U.S. every year.
Entergy Corp. (ETR) and the SMG, the company that manages the Superdome, in a joint statement said equipment designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. The piece in question -- located where the Superdome equipment intersects with Entergy’s feed into the building -- worked as it was supposed to and opened a breaker, causing a partial cut in power to isolate the issue.
“Entergy and SMG will continue to investigate the root cause of the abnormality,” the statement said.
New Orleans hosted the Super Bowl for a record-tying 10th time. Landrieu prior to the game said New Orleans was counting on positive coverage of the game and city to spur tourism.
“For us, the Super Bowl isn’t over until the last visitor leaves town, so we’re focused on continuing to show our visitors a good time,” the mayor’s statement said.
CBS Corp. (CBS)’s CBS, which reaped an average of $3.8 million for a 30-second commercial during the telecast, in a statement from spokeswoman Jennifer Sabatelle said commercial commitments were honored.
CBS said it used back-up power sources and that the telecast never left the air.
Ravens center Matt Birk, a Harvard University graduate, said the power failure and subsequent delay provided CBS and the league with a chance to make more money.
“How many commercials did they get to run? I mean, the NFL’s probably chock full of cash already,” he said with a chuckle. “I think it was iffy if they were going to make a profit this year, but I think with the extra commercial time, that pushed them into the black.”
The dome’s public-address announcer during the power failure asked fans to remain in their seats. Some in the stands passed the time by doing the wave during the delay, which began shortly after Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff of the second half 108 yards for a touchdown.
Players differed as to what effect the power failure had on the game, which swung in San Francisco’s direction when the game resumed with 13:22 left in the third quarter and the Ravens leading 28-6. The 49ers scored 17 unanswered points after the game was restarted.
Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta said the interruption came “at the perfect time” for the 49ers.
“We had a ton of momentum,” he said. “It felt like the power was out forever and it was hard to get back going.”
Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said it was hard to gauge the effect, adding that all he told his players was to try to stay loose. His brother, John, the Ravens coach, said he thought the Niners did a better job of coping with the delay. “They were able to turn the momentum of the game,” the winning coach said.
Most of the players spent the unscheduled break on their sidelines, stretching and jogging.
“It was a distraction,” said Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin, who had six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Teammate Ray Rice, a running back, said he was stiff after the delay, which closely followed the halftime break.
“The offense was sitting for an hour. Was it tough getting back out there? It was pretty tough,” Rice said. “But I’m glad we were just able to finish the game and be world champions.”
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